Tag Archives: homelessphilosopher

Redstone and McDevitt refrain from exploiting latest homeless death, and more

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

I may have known the homeless woman who recently passed on, apparently last weekend, but I have difficulty putting names together with faces because I do NOT hang around with the crowds of street people here in Boulder, CO. I’ll simply refer to her as “N.” here.

Different acquaintances of N. have told me different stories; she was a chronically homeless alcoholic, a drug addict, a woman who suffered from a seizure disorder, and various combinations of all of these. I would only be speculating as to her cause of death, and see no reason to do so, but we should bear in mind that the life expectancy of chronically homeless people is somewhere around 50 years of age. I’m just happy that our local do-gooders — Joy Eckstine Redstone and Isabel McDevitt — have not used the Daily Camera to publicize this death and call for still more funding/increased services for the homeless (many of whom are transients from Denver and elsewhere). Remember their shameless exploitation of homeless deaths last summer? It was almost enough to make the Homeless Philosopher puke . . .

I’ve been enjoying the absence of bums during the day at my spot on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant in the 4900 block of N. Broadway. So, it seems, have passersby at the nearby corner of U.S. 36; yesterday, I made $30 during the noon hour. I like it when everybody’s happy!

However, around 3PM, a couple of bums I’d NEVER seen before came strolling up to me, one of them introducing himself by the nickname “Polish” (not the nationality he actually used), and he asked if I’d seen “Doris” (not her real name), the pickled idjit who was evicted from her brand new Housing First apartment, and has since caused problems at my campsite and on the corner, too. I told him I hadn’t seen her, but it was reported to me that she was passed out face-down in front of Boulder Bins during the day on Monday. I also told him that I didn’t want to see her because of her stupid drunken antics, which I related in detail for his benefit. Polish said that Doris had moved to their campsite, where they don’t allow vodka — but they do permit rum and beer, as if alcohol itself isn’t the issue — and they were worried about her. Why waste your time caring? Really, she’s another one determined to slowly kill herself with booze, and NOBODY can stop her, short of committing her to a secure psychiatric facility for dipsomania.

“Doris” would have to sober up a bit to reach this point.

These two guys, the other one besides Polish never spoke a word, might have thought that I knocked Doris in the head and then threw her down a mine shaft somewhere. But, like the proverbial bad penny, she showed up this morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Last I saw, as my SKIP bus was leaving southbound on Broadway around 7:30AM, she was walking out to the corner. She won’t make a dime — not even if she staggers into the roadway and holds up traffic through a green light, one of her aggressive panhandling tactics fueled by rotgut booze.

Yes, I despise this woman. And I also despise the do-gooders who gave her a chance at 1175 Lee Hill, over scores of more deserving and trustworthy homeless people.

A pox on them all!

This morning, just before I got up at my campsite at 5AM, some crazy bum came walking right up on me and he was carrying a large sheet of plywood. WTF? This is the same character who’s been transported by paramedics to the local psych ward more than once in years past, from my neighborhood. I watched as he placed a makeshift cross on the large pile of dirt on the CDOT lot, and I’ll hazard a guess that it’s meant as a memorial to the aforementioned N. — but she didn’t die in this part of town, so I’m not certain what this Froot Loop meant to convey by his gesture.

This is what happens when city officials allow the homeless shelter/services industry to operate without supervision: Boulder gets overrun by the worst-behaved homeless people, most of ’em transients without any long-term ties to our town. It’s negatively impacting the quality of life in my north Boulder neighborhood, without any doubt whatsoever.

That’s my rant for the day. Next, I think I’ll go to King Soopers and buy a pint of ice cream:

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The Homeless Philosopher is moving to Hawaii for a year

By Max R. Weller

A few months ago, I received an e-mail from someone associated with an “artists’ colony” on the Island of Oahu, home to the majority of Hawaii’s population (including many, many homeless people who moved there from the U.S. Mainland). I’ve corresponded with this young lady on a regular basis since then.

My blog came to her attention in the usual way, when she was surfing the Internet for info on homelessness. Long story made short, the board of directors of this organization has offered me a one-year “scholarship” — all expenses paid, including airfare to and from Oahu — to stay at their tropical retreat and devote myself to writing a book about the subject, as I see it from firsthand experience.

Not a daunting task, when you consider worthless books like The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp. If such a load of crap can get published, why not a book by me?

Of equal importance in my mind is the opportunity to live for a year in an exotic locale, far away from all of the pretentious nonsense which is Boulder, CO. Chief Niwot was spot-on, if in fact he actually uttered the famous quote: “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”

The only thing which causes me a little bit of concern is that this artists’ colony in Oahu is clothing optional — and over half of the painters, sculptors, musicians, and writers in residence are female. It’s one thing to display my fat and hairy 59-year-old body in the men’s shower area at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless; something else to do so in the presence of ladies who might point and laugh.

Wish me luck!

Irony defined at CU’s Norlin Library, and more

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

> As I had nearly completed my morning stroll across CU’s Norlin Quad, and was once again perplexed by the display of Pink Crosses near Norlin Library, I spotted something new: two sandwich boards had been set up by the west library entrance proclaiming that CU is a SMOKE-FREE campus. All around were cigarette butts; it seems to me that it would have been wiser to clean up the smokers’ trash first, before announcing anything SMOKE-FREE. I’m glad that CU is trying, anyway.

> Great column by Sean Maher, which I just noticed this morning, What is Boulder afraid of? As for me, I’m delighted by both residential and commercial development I see, except for the Wet House at 1175 Lee Hill.

> Read this commentary in the Daily Camera, Colorado homeless deserve Right to Rest bill. My online comment is copied here:

What does this mean, a RIGHT to rest?

Nancy Peters asks, “What are your chances of being harassed, ticketed or arrested in Colorado for simply trying to exist as an unhoused person?” For me, the answer is ZERO despite the fact that I’ve lived as a homeless man in the same north Boulder neighborhood for over seven years.

I have no difficulty at all with either law enforcement or with my neighbors in my daily life; this is because I don’t behave in a drunken, obnoxious, self-centered way which is calculated to attract the attention of the authorities as a de facto form of protest. I speak out directly to issues which concern me, and do-gooders coddling the small minority of homeless people who are (in effect) giving society the finger is of GREAT CONCERN.

A pox on the bad actors who make all of us look like bums, and another pox on their apologists/enablers who are making homelessness into an industry that perpetuates the problem, neither “ending” it nor effectively “addressing” it.

> Meme of the day:

j3bsu

No, not at all. Greg Harms does make $90,000 per year as executive director of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, however, so why shouldn’t he be happy? Cute blonde, too.

> I usually don’t go for novels that deal with the paranormal, but I just finished “The City” by Dean Koontz. There is one passage in this book which really got my attention, on pages 160-161 of the paperback version, and it’s copied below (for purposes of my review here, of course):

Back then, I had a narrow definition of heroism. My conclusion that Mr. Yoshioka lacked courage arose from ignorance, as later I would learn. After you have suffered great losses and known much pain, it is not cowardice to wish to live henceforth with a minimum of suffering. And one form of heroism, about which few if any films will be made, is having the courage to live without bitterness when bitterness is justified, having the strength to persevere even when perseverance seems unlikely to be rewarded, having the resolution to find profound meaning in life when it seems the most meaningless.

Wow! Great piece of writing.

Have a good weekend, everybody! Back on Monday.

Homeless romance a.k.a. street marriage

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

Homeless couple on street in San Francisco, CA

This is something I’ve never been tempted to become a part of during all the years I’ve been homeless, since early 2008 in Boulder, CO. And having observed many dysfunctional, often abusive, couples living on the streets here I’m about ready to conclude that they’re ALL mentally ill.

I’m talking about long-term relationships, of course, not “hooking up” to gratify one’s lustful desires; I’ve been tempted more than once by the latter, but the homeless women were attractive and clean and friends I’d known for a while. In the end, I decided NOT to risk ruining a perfectly good, uncomplicated friendship. Besides, I’m an ascetic.

Frankly, I can’t remember ever being drunk enough during the thirty years I spent with Jim Beam to have wanted to bed some dirty, smelly, crazy Rainbow-type chick with hairy armpits worthy of a steel mill worker. To me, only tubal ligation or vasectomy would be more effective means of birth control than the sight of a woman’s hairy armpits:

The hardware in her face is also damn ugly . . .

But, I digress . . .

The typical street marriage of a homeless couple has no legal standing whatsoever, despite the fact that the clueless couple will refer to each other as “husband” and “wife” — along with a lot of other foul names I won’t repeat on my blog. I guess if misery loves company, you might enjoy having a partner to keep dragging down into the gutter, and vice versa. For each loving homeless couple who are supporting each other in an attempt to gain a better life (possible even if they remain homeless), I’ve observed ten couples who are constantly at war both verbally and physically. Drunk and stoned, besides.

What’s the point? You can behave stupidly by yourself.

One of these couples still owes me $20 that I foolishly loaned them way back in 2010 for cigarettes, and they’re on the outs again, with one remaining in subsidized housing and the other at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. I have no doubt that eventually the two will get back together, but I’ll NEVER see that twenty dollars again.

That’s all for now, folks. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Emergency shelters for the homeless are human warehouses

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

I’m referring specifically to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the various sites operated by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. Somewhere in America, there surely is a place for street people to stay overnight in decent conditions — clean surroundings with peace and quiet prevailing, and staffed by those who can recognize the bad actors who make life miserable for other homeless men and women — but that place is NOT to be found in Boulder, CO.

BSH intake area

Does this look to you like a dignified way to bring those in need out of the cold? BTW, you have to play the lottery to get a bunk; if you’re unlucky and draw a high number, you’ll be turned away. In that case, you could wind up here:

One of the BOHO emergency warming centers (location withheld by me)

What the tarps spread all over the floor indicate to me is that this this particular church thinks that ALL homeless people they host are filthy and vermin-infested, and can be expected to vomit everywhere except into a toilet. Maybe the other churches and a synagogue also do this, I don’t know; NEVER have I cared to stay overnight at BOHO after hearing the stories from those who have.

I’ll add that I haven’t stayed overnight at BSH since April 30, 2010. I’ve had my fill of being crammed together with too many others in a confined space (you can imagine the smells and noises throughout the night for yourself), and I’m very grateful to have learned how to survive outdoors in wintertime AND to have made friends who will take me into their home when necessary.

I can tell you from firsthand experience of homeless shelters and jails/prisons: Conditions in the typical homeless shelter intended for emergency overnight use are far worse than can be found in any jail or prison! The federal Department of Justice doesn’t hesitate to crack down on jails and prisons which dehumanize inmates — but NOBODY is looking out for the welfare, both physical and psychological, of street people in desperate straits who wind up in substandard facilities.

Yes, yes, I can hear you . . . You’re asking for a better alternative than the current system. Fair enough:

Proposed Tiny House Village in Portland, OR

These single occupancy housing solutions for homeless adults are popping up all over the country in more progressive cities, while Boulder lags behind with the old, discredited model of projects costing many millions of dollars. Consider that a tiny house offers privacy, security, and the opportunity for restful sleep overnight . . . OM Build in Madison, WI can turn out a tiny house for $5,000. Contrast that with the $200,000+ Housing First apartments at 1175 Lee Hill, being touted as permanent supportive housing. Keeping those dollar figures in mind, which do you think is better — one apartment for a program client or forty (40) tiny houses for single men and women who need shelter from the elements?

It should be a no-brainer to pick the best option.

Tips to avoid being dehumanized as a homeless person

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

I’ve found these to be useful in my own life as the Homeless Philosopher here in Boulder, CO since early 2008, and I think they would serve anyone well no matter how long or how short a time they find themselves homeless.

> STAY CLEAN AND SOBER. Everyday challenges are so much easier to deal with when you keep all of your wits about you, and in wintertime it could even save your life.

> RESPECT YOURSELF, RESPECT OTHERS, AND RESPECT THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH YOU LIVE. It’s also expressed in the Golden Rule, and makes life much easier by greatly reducing conflicts with those around you.

> PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE DAILY. Yes, I certainly know firsthand that depression can lead one to neglect this, but pushing through that wall by taking a hot shower and putting on clean clothes can go far in lifting your spirits. Just do it!

> EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, EAT FEWER CARBS AND SWEETS. To make this possible, you’ll have to shop for yourself and avoid the free food giveaways — which tend to be heavy on beans, rice, pasta, and donated (stale) bread/pastry.

> SPEND YOUR MONEY, REGARDLESS OF ITS SOURCE, ON LIFE’S NECESSITIES AS THE FIRST PRIORITY. My only income is from generous passersby at a particular intersection in Boulder; this cash pays for my food and beverage, clothing, hygiene items, camping gear, books and newspapers, bus fare, etc. Plus, I’m able to save money for emergencies (currently $120 in my coffee jar “piggy bank”) and occasionally I can even donate to a worthy cause. I’ve never applied for nor have I received any taxpayer-funded benefits since I moved to Colorado over seven years ago. My quality of life, as I see it, is better than that of most other homeless people I see who have become dependent on the myriad of social services being promoted to “help” us.

> BECOME A PART OF THE BROADER COMMUNITY BY MAKING FRIENDS WHO ARE NOT HOMELESS. I can’t stress this point enough; the most effective dehumanizing process is for homeless people to become segregated, either voluntarily or by subsidized housing policy, into rat packs and ghettoes. This means that you can’t spend your days hanging out at Bridge House nor at the other popular homeless hangouts like Pearl Street Mall, Boulder Creek Path and Central Park, University Hill, etc. There’s a whole wide world of people out there to meet, and I can highly recommend it based on personal experience.

> THE LESS TIME YOU SPEND WITH UNQUALIFIED “CASE MANAGERS” AT HOMELESS SHELTER/SERVICES PROVIDERS, THE BETTER. This type of do-gooder can cause a lot of harm to unwitting clients, who often aren’t in a position to distinguish good advice from manure.

There are other commonsense points, of course, but it’s not my purpose here to get bogged down in details. ggp6p